Why tho

Instagram CEO confirms the app will only get worse next year

“The world is changing quickly, and we’re gonna have to change with it.”

Adam Mosseri, Instagram CEO

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 8:  Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, testifies during the Senate Commer...
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images

Exasperated doesn’t begin to explain how Instagram is making us feel as we slide into 2022. After a year of copycat design changes and truly ridiculous scandals, the company has officially set itself a goal of becoming even less fun and more confusing to use by the end of next year.

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri posted a video to Instagram and Twitter in which he lays out the company’s “four key priorities” for 2022. He makes sure to mention in his caption that these priorities are in addition to Instagram’s “industry-leading safety and wellbeing efforts.” Here are Mosseri’s priorities:

  • Double down on focus on video
  • Focus on messaging as a primary source of communication
  • Expand transparency efforts
  • Focus on creators with new monetization projects

Besides being classically cringe, Mosseri’s video is also just frustrating. Why not let Instagram just be Instagram?

A big year indeed — The most difficult part of Mosseri’s video to watch is its beginning, where he attempts to compare Instagram’s growth to large-scale trends and cultural events. Sorry, Adam, but Reels feels pretty paltry next to mass vaccination and the #FreeBritney movement.

The video is made even more cringe by what’s left unsaid. Instagram’s biggest news this year came in the form of internal research leaked by Frances Haugen, which revealed that Instagram knows the full extent of harm it inflicts upon teens. That third priority — transparency — is a direct consequence of Haugen’s disclosures. (Of course, we didn’t really expect Mosseri to acknowledge these issues; he didn’t even do so when testifying in front of Congress.)

Just give us Instagram — Mosseri comes across as very sure of the direction in which he’s leading Instagram. But that sentiment isn’t very contagious.

The story of Instagram this year has not been about improving existing features or making the app easier to use. Instead, it’s been about prioritizing money-makers (even if that means sacrificing general usability) and straight-up copying features from TikTok. Focusing on Reels and creator funding doesn’t feel like an improvement for users — it feels like a desperate grab for TikTok’s hold on the zeitgeist.

Mosseri is right: Instagram is no longer just a photo-sharing app. While that may be a boon to Instagram’s business, it’s not making the experience any more pleasurable to users. We don’t log onto Instagram for TikTok; we log on for Instagram.

Oh, and we do appreciate the push for further transparency as we move into 2022. We just hope your definition of transparency has expanded beyond what you’ve shown us in 2021.